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Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

17 September 2009


OECD Employment Outlook

Joint Media Release
The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Education
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion

The OECD in its 2009 Employment Outlook has delivered powerful new evidence that the Rudd Government's stimulus measures have led the advanced world in supporting jobs during the global recession.

The OECD estimates that employment in Australia will be between 1.4 and 1.9 percentage points higher in 2010 than would be the case in the absence of the Government's fiscal stimulus measures.

However the OECD also paints a bleak picture of unemployment across advanced economies, which is forecast to reach nearly 10 per cent, leaving a massive 57 million people out of work.

This sobering global outlook confirms the massive challenge we still face as unemployment continues to rise here and around the world, and underscores the vital importance of delivering our stimulus measures in full to keep as many Australians in work as possible.

The report clearly indicates that unemployment across the OECD would be much higher if Governments had not acted decisively with policy measures to support employment:

"Job losses would be significantly larger if vigorous macroeconomic measures had not been taken"

The OECD singles out Australia's fiscal stimulus as being particularly effective in supporting employment.

"Even though many countries moved quickly to enact large fiscal stimulus packages, these packages generally have not had a strong effect in cushioning the initial decline in employment caused by the crisis, although Australia is a notable exception."

This comes at a time when the OECD is warning that the global recession will see unemployment continue to rise in the coming months, with OECD Director, John Martin stating that "OECD countries are facing a jobs crisis."

The OECD report notes that "a growing number of OECD countries are already facing very large increases in unemployment and under-employment, and labour market conditions are likely to deteriorate further in the months to come."

Despite its bleak unemployment outlook, the OECD has also emphasised the crucial role of fiscal and other policy measures in preventing a global depression, although it notes most OECD countries have suffered severe recession.

"Vigorous government actions to stabilise financial markets and raise aggregate demand appear to have prevented the financial crisis from developing into a depression, but have not been adequate to prevent a severe recession in most OECD countries."

Australia is the only advanced economy to grow over the past twelve months, recording growth of 0.6 per cent. Without the Government's stimulus measures the Australian economy would have contracted by 1.3 per cent over the same period.

Australia's unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent remains lower than all but one of the world's major advanced economies. However reports like the OECD's Employment Outlook show that the job is far from finished as the global recession continues to play out around the world.

17 September 2009